Destiny’s Captive

Written by Beverly Jenkins
Review by Monica Spence

As a young man Noah Yates, the handsome son of a privileged family, endured capture, slavery, and forced piracy. He loves the sea; the only place he feels at peace is on his ship, the Alanza. Pilar Banderas, revolutionary and pirate, has to fight for every morsel of food she brings to her family. Her greatest dream is freedom from Spanish rule for her beloved Cuba. She kidnaps Noah and steals the Alanza to run guns to her comrades. Opposites attract, and when Pilar is threatened with imprisonment for her crimes, Noah helps her flee Cuba. They escape to California and the safety of Noah’s family ranch, where their attraction turns to love.

It should come as no surprise that Beverly Jenkins is a nominee for the NAACP Image Award for Literature, and the winner of a host of other awards. Destiny’s Captive, the last book in her Destiny trilogy, is a fast-paced historical romance set in the Caribbean and California after the American Civil War. Throughout, Jenkins presents the evils of slavery and the poor treatment of people of color, though she avoids preaching. One of the most memorable scenes has Noah and Pilar traveling across the southern U.S. in a filthy livestock-filled cattle car, the only transportation available to people of color, no matter how wealthy. The 19th-century social attitude toward women is also clearly defined. Humor blunts these issues, but the reader never forgets the author’s intent. Recommended.